A Sunday Times Book of the Year ‘Justin Hill’s Shieldwall . . . superbly evoked the wordplay of the period’s poetry as it unfolds a compelling story of Earl Godwin’s battles against the Norse’
The year is 1016 and England burns while the Viking armies blockade the great city of London. King Ethelred lies dying and the England he knew dies with him; the warring kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and Northymbria tremble on the brink of great change. One man lives to bear witness to the upheaval: Godwin, barely out of boyhood and destined to become one of his country’s great warriors.
When Ethelred’s son Edmund takes the throne, determined to succeed where his father failed, he plucks Godwin from domestic peace to be right-hand man in his loyal shield wall. Godwin must traverse the meadows, wintry forests and fogbound marshes of Saxon England, raising armies of monks, ploughmen and shepherds against the Viking invader. With epic courage and ferocity, Godwin and Edmund repel the butchering Danes in three great battles. But an old enemy, the treacherous Earl Eadric, dogs Godwin’s footsteps, and as the final battle approaches, around the valiant English the trap begins to close.
Hill's sense of place, landscape and home is really good. His particular discovery is how he makes his characters' internal lives. I shall be waiting for the next novel in the trilogy * Observer * Truly compelling * Sunday Times * Exciting, gripping and imaginative -- Kate Saunders * The Times * Inspired . . . With wonderful, poetic passages, Hill reaches beyond the limits of the genre and . . . harks back to the halls of our Saxon forebears in those dark days -- Ian Mortimer * Guardian * Written in supple, intelligent prose . . . Shieldwall is a vivid historical novel . . . Entirely convincing -- Nick Rennison * Sunday Times *
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